|Int Friendly: Czech Republic v Australia
Friday 1st June 9:00pm
at NV Arena, St Polten, Austria
|Best: Under 2.5 goals ($1.65)
Value: Czech Republic WIN ($2.50)
Correct Score: Czech Republic 2-0 ($12.00)
The clock is ticking for the Socceroos and they have just two weeks left until their World Cup opener against France. For the Australian public it all begins with the two friendlies against the Czech Republic and Hungary!
Do these friendlies matter?
You better believe it! Following a disappointing showing against Norway in what was Van Marwijk’s first game at the helm, the friendlies will serve a significant purpose. Van Marwijk will have one last chance to see his players in action before naming his final 23 man squad next week – 3 to be cut. Jedinak and Rogic were late additions to the training camp in Turkey and the upcoming fortnight will serve a purpose of getting them into tip top shape for encounter with France. The friendlies will also help answer several questions around player selection, formation and tactics. One thing is for certain – the matches will be watched and analysed with a fine tooth comb!
Squad and Formation
To say that the Socceroos are settled would be a lie. There are several positions up for grabs and they could be taken by some unlikely individuals. Jamie Maclaren was called up following an injury sustained by Tomi Juric as the hunt for a spearhead in attack continues. Cahill looks set to be used sparingly while Petratos may get a chance after playing in advanced roles all season long for the Jets in the A-League.
Troisi, Luongo and Irvine are all in contention for midfield positions while Karacic could be given a chance to take hold of the role at right back. The Wolf would like to see him given a chance as he has lost all faith in Risdon and is completely against personnel being played out of position. If Milligan or Brilliante are used at right back at any point, as has been hinted, The Wolf is ready to throw in the towel before we even step a foot on Russian soil!
Stats That Matter
The Socceroos have won just 1 of their last 4 games and have failed to find the back of the net in half of those matches. It is no secret that the Socceroos attack lacks both creativity and tempo. They have managed just 5 goals in their last 8 games outside of Australian soil with the strikers contributing 3 goals in the last 10 games overall. The fact that the Socceroos have just as many goals from the penalty spot in the same stretch says enough.
Meanwhile, the Czech’s have won 5 of their last 6 despite not having qualified for Russia. Just to get a gauge on where they are at… they we in the same qualifying group as Norway, the team that recently beat the Socceroos 4-1 and claimed 4 of a possible 6 points against them. They conceded just 10 goals in the 10 qualifying games and half of those were scored by Germany.
The Wolf is worried for the Socceroos – very worried. He has no doubt that the focus in the two friendlies will be to sure things up defensively and get a grasp of the game in the middle of the park. The Wolf has no idea where the goals will come from and will be surprised if the Socceroos get more than 5 attempts on target. Under 2.5 goals is 7-1 in the Socceroos last 8 away games and a draw in this one would be a positive. Wolfy doesn’t want to break the hearts of Socceroos fans but says those with even sense will be backing the Czech Republic.